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Library Resources: How Do I...?

Tutorials on using Gertrude Kistler Library, online library resources, and various information sources from elsewhere.

Can I Use Websites For Research?

Yes - with some cautions.

What are you researching?

  • The more formal the assignment - for example, a paper rather than homework - the less likely it will be that a website can be used.
  • Websites are never "scholarly resources." (Online books and journal articles MAY be.)
  • When in doubt, you should always check with your instructor first.

How reliable is the website?

  • Anyone can put up any kind of information online: good, bad, accurate, inaccurate, or deliberately false!
  • Evaluate all information that you find on websites. See the box to the right for more information.

Try the library first - believe it or not, it's EASIER!

  • Always use the library's print resources and databases FIRST, and look for open web resources as a last resort.
  • Resources in the library and its databases have already been evaluated and approved by scholars. The work has been done for you!

Where do I find good websites?

Following is list of websites that the academic community has favorably reviewed. We are not responsible for their maintenance or for the quality of any sites to which they may link. Please consult a librarian if in doubt about the authority of any information found on the open web.

Open Access Resources

Open Access materials are licensed for free use online by anyone, regardless of their institutional affiliation. Kistler Library has compiled materials from many of the web's top open access content providers into a single search through WorldCat Discovery. Enter your search terms in the field below, click GO, and you will be brought to a list of results. From there, simply click the Access online or View full text links provided to be directed to any given article.

Consult these links for more help using and accessing Open Access resources:

Research Websites

How Do I Tell A Good Website From A Bad One?

There are a number of online tutorials available on evaluating websites:

I Found A Good Website; How Do I Cite It?

To Google Or Not To Google?

  • There's a time and place for everything! Google is great for casual web searching, but not for academic research.
  • Google's algorithms are set to show you certain types of information first, often for commercial reasons. Helpful when you're shopping, but not when you're researching!
  • There may be times when you can use Google to search for open web resources for an assignment, but try to use it only as a last resort, and with caution.
  • Click here for information on how to access library resources using Google Scholar

What About Wikipedia?

  • Wikipedia itself should never be used as a source in an assignment.
  • ...BUT in most Wikipedia articles, you can find lists of Sources and External Links which may contain resources you can use.
  • Browsing Wikipedia can also give you a good sense of the breadth and depth of any given topic: whether there's enough information on which to base an entire research project.
  • Of course, traditional encyclopedias have bibliographies too - and you know you can trust their information! Why not try searching the databases below for your topic instead?
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